Food is the major source of energy. Every living organism on this planet needs food to stay alive and to continue all other essential life processes. Plants are the main source of food on which both humans and animals depend. We cannot imagine life without food.
With the rapidly growing population, demand for more food, loss of produced crops, and other problems in the agricultural output are the main reasons for the scarcity of food and are the biggest concern in some parts of the world facing today. This has led to an increase in the requirement of strategies that can help in the management of the crops produced.
Let us have a detailed look at the harvesting and storage steps involved in crop production.
Crop Production Definition
“Crop production is the branch of agriculture that deals with the production of crops for food and fiber.”
What Is Crop Production?
Crop production is a common agricultural practice followed by worldwide farmers to grow and produce crops to use as food and fibre. This practice includes all the feed sources that are required to maintain and produce crops. Listed below are few practices used during crop production.
- Preparation of Soil.
- Sowing of Seeds.
- Application of manure, pesticides, and fertilizers to the crops.
- Protecting and Harvesting Crops.
- Storage and Preserving the produced Crops.
The ultimate stages of crop production are harvesting and storage.
Harvesting requires art and practice because a large proportion of crops can be lost due to improper methods of harvesting. Another concern besides harvesting is storage. Storage of grains is to be given utmost priority as improper storage can result in the destruction of crops being by pests or unfavourable environmental conditions.
Thus, it requires proper knowledge of harvesting, methods of storage, and protection of grains, which are discussed below.
Also read: Crop Production and Management
Once the crop is matured or fully ripen, they are cut and gathered (Reaping) which are collectively called as harvesting. Harvesting depends on many factors like season, crop variety, maturity period, etc.
Over-irrigation, irregular sunlight can prolong ripening of crop which thus delays the harvesting time. Early harvesting causes loss of unripened grains while delayed harvesting leads to shedding off of grains.
Besides this, rodents and even birds eat the grains. Therefore regular examination of the crop is necessary as harvesting period approaches. The golden yellow colour is the indication of ripened crops for paddy, rice, and wheat.
Manually harvesting is done by using sickles but it is a tedious job as well as time-consuming. In recent times, machines called harvesters are used for harvesting, especially in large-scale farming.
Followed by harvesting, threshing of the crop has to be performed. Threshing is the process, in which, the collected grains are separated from the chaff by beating or by the threshing machine. In small-scale farming, chaff and grains are separated from each other by a process called winnowing.
Harvesting is considered as a festival in most part of the country. It is a time of joy where the fruits of the hard work of farmers come into reality. Some of the harvesting festivals are Pongal, Bihu, etc.
Storage of Crops
In the case of small-scale cultivation, farmers use the harvested crop for themselves while large-scale production is mainly for marketing. Thus the cultivators have to store the grains. For this, proper storage space has to be arranged. Inadequate storage space and improper storage methods can lead to a huge grain loss.
In addition to pest and rodents, microbes like bacteria, fungi, and environmental conditions such as moisture and temperature might attack the stored grains. Therefore, proper treatment is required before the grains are stored.
Rodent infestations can be prevented by pesticides. A moist environment results in fungal growth on grains. This can be avoided by proper drying of grains in sunlight.
Another method is fumigation where chemicals are used to prevent bacteria and other microorganisms. After proper treatments, grains have to be stored in gunny bags or granaries and deposited in godowns.
Thus we see how harvesting and storage of grains form an important part of crop production.
Also Read: Crops
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Frequently Asked Questions
What is crop production?
Crop production is the process of growing crops for domestic and commercial purposes. Some of the crops produced on a large scale include rice, wheat, maize, jute, etc.
What are the practices involved in crop production?
Crop production involves the following practices:
- Soil preparation
- Sowing of seeds
- Irrigating the soil
- Harvesting of crops
- Storage of crops
What are the factors affecting crop production?
The factors affecting crop production are:
- Soil fertility
- Availability of water
What are the major food crops?
Potato, rice, sorghum, soybeans, maize and wheat are some of the important food crops.
What are the major food crops grown across the world?
Wheat and maize are the two major crops grown across the world. Rice and soybeans are other crops grown across the world.